Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Princess Half Marathon 2015

Half Marathon #2 is in the books and I am so sore! Like barely getting up from bed, walking down the stairs, lumps of rocks in my legs sore.

After Nike DC last year I did not have high expectations about the Princess Half. I knew it was going to be fun, but Nike was so great about everything I didn't think it could be topped (read post here, here, & here). But I was happily wrong. I could still be coming off of the "runner's high" but it may have been better!

Because I live in Orlando, the half marathon weekend as a whole wasn't as big of deal as it was for DC. For DC, there was the anticipation of traveling, sight seeing, and completing my first half. All week I had to remind myself that the race on was on Sunday. Even Saturday, while I was running errands with Brandon, I had to keep saying out loud that I running 13.1 miles in 24 hours…

My running buddy (who did Nike DC with me) and I hit up the expo Friday evening and it was a fun experience. I wasn't tempted to make any purchases; which is a good thing since most of it was picked over already, really didn't need to spend the money, and I wasn't crazy about the clothing options. But I felt bad for the people who clearly had intended on buying merchandise. I saw a lot of upset people on the PHM Facebook page who were really disappointed about all the big ticket items being gone really fast. That is a thing Nike DC had going for them, they NEVER ran out of merchandise--one thing would come off the shelf and a sales associate would be right there to restock.

I did end up purchasing Clif Shotblocks for the race and a 13.1 running headband.
If you don't know Disney races, they start EARLY, not like, ew 7:00 am early, but 5:30 EW AM! And the park has only one way in..so if you aren't staying at the resorts and taking a bus in, you have to leave early.
So, my alarm was set for 2:45 am with a 3:30 am leave time. 
I had plans to go to bed early, but Brandon popped in Gone Girl and even though I tried to fall asleep twice during the movie, I was already hooked. When it finally finished, I tried to get the last 2 hours of sleep I had left.
But unlike the alarm for work, when this went off adrenaline kicked in and getting up was a breeze. I put on Jock Jams Pandora and started getting ready.
Running Outfit:
Tank Top: Sports Authority in Volt
Running Skirt: Esty
Wings are from 10 years ago-seriously, Halloween costume in HS-thank goodness for inability to throw anything away.
Not shown: Shorts under the skirt: Sports Authority
Shoe pom-poms: homemade

We got to Epcot around 5:15 and found our friends. This arrival time is later than I recommend because we did not realize that the starting line was a 10 minute walk from the parking lot. Meg and I were supposed to be in corral G, so we knew we weren't leaving right at 5:30, but still needed a bathroom break before getting to the corral--while there are lots and lots of port-a-potties behind bag check in, everyone is also trying to use them, so my tip is to get the corral and THEN use the restroom, there are just as many there that no one is using.

We missed the entrance for our corral by a few seconds and had to jump into H. We ended up starting the race around 5:48 and it really was like herding cattle. Women right on top of one another and I kept having to apologize for my wings. I even told Meg after the first few minutes of running that it would impossible for anyone to PR on this because of how crowded it was getting out.

Photo from google

Mile 1: This first mile came up really quickly, but it wasn't very fast because of all the other racers and it took about 1-2 miles to find our pace group.
Disney does not disappoint with the character stops, we could hear the Pirates of the Caribbean theme blaring soon after we hit mile 1.
Character stop: Pirate ship with Captain Jack Sparrow and Barbosa 
We hit the first water/powerade stop about 1.5--it was our plan to walk through each one.
Between Mile 2-3: Character stop: Several of the fine looking Disney men (Aladdin, Eric, Hercules, Rapunzel guy, and John Smith)
Mile 3-4: The first sight of spectators. After making it through the 5k is was really nice to hear some cheers and seeing our hubbies! Making it to the parking lot was a good feeling that we were getting close to the Magic Kingdom.
Character stop: Villians (Cruella, Malefiecent, Evil Queen)
Mile 4-5: Backyard Disney scenery and a few of the resorts. We had 3 shot blocks around mile 4.5.
Mile 5-6.5: We finally made it to the Magic Kingdom! I could see the top of Space Mountain and a wave of adrenaline kicked in knowing we were so close. You head in through the side of MK and up the middle of Main Street, which is loaded with spectators--including our hubbies again! Thank goodness they are so tall, it was always easy to spot them.
Seeing Cinderella's castle in front of us was so amazing. I may have seen it a hundred times before this, but nothing is quite like running 5 miles to see it! Photo-op necessary.
After passing the castle we headed through Tomorrow Land, run through the castle and into Frontier Land. Coming out of the castle our hubbies caught us again--so sweet of them running through MK to catch us.
More water/powerade stops and character stops: Buzz Lightyear was in Tomorrow Land, Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum were in the carnival area, the Frozen characters were above us as we were going through the castle, and Woody was in Frontier Land. We decided to not make any characters stop throughout the run because the lines were really long and we were afraid if we stopped it would be hard to start back up again. But we did take a few "selfies" with them in the background.
Mile 7-8: This is where it was getting really tough. Both of us did not train like we did for Nike and had not stretched properly--we were in PAIN! At this point, both of us had developed blisters on our feet and were debating on whether our feet were potentially bleeding. My inner thighs were so sore and I needed to alternate with some walking with long strides to stretch them out.
Character Stops: Mary Poppins and crew

Mile 8-11: We started making it back to the route that took us out of Epcot and hit that 10 mile mark. At this point, a 5k to go looks like a jog around the block. We also had our last three shot blocks.
Mile 11-12: I still needed to switch to walking strides every mile to stretch out my legs. But by 11.5 we could see the Epcot ball and we realized there was an actual chance I would PR this half--remember at mile 1 when I said it would be impossible?
Damn you Walt Disney….

Well, at this point I was not having any fun, I wanted it to be over so bad--everything was hurting, but we were so close!
At mile 12 we came in around the right side of Epcot and needed to run through the opening of the park, turn around at the lake, and head back past the other side of ball.
I cannot say enough how much better is it to run with a friend. It made the whole 13.1 miles so much fun, I don't think I can run one alone again. With a friend you can't get lost in your own thoughts and you have a motivator with you. Meg was especially awesome during the last mile. Had I been alone I'm pretty sure I would have allowed myself to walk a bit, but not with Meg. She kept yelling out "you're gonna PR..only half a mile to go..only point 3 miles to go..you are gonna PR!"
With her cheering me on and right at the moment I hit 12, Dixie Chicks "Ready to Run," came on my iPod, I took that as a sign from God that I can keep going and make it through..and you know what? I did!
Meg and I crossed the finish line together and I PR'd by 5 minutes!
Loving the race bling!
How perfect is Brandon's shirt?!? He and Meg's husband bought those while they waited for us to run from MK to Epcot. They are the best! I was so happy he was there, he wasn't able to travel to DC last year, so it meant a lot to have him watch me--plus I think he caught the running bug and he wants to sign up for Disney Wine and Dine Half in November..registration is in two weeks, so hopefully he'll still think it's a good idea.

Overall, Disney Princess may be better than Nike DC. 
Either, I'm still on a high from the weekend or it really was just that great. I loved seeing all the costumes, running through a place so familiar, full of Disney magic, and running with a friend.
I can't wait to sign up for 2016!

That leaves the biggest question..what will I dress up as next year?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Teacher Threads: Plaid

I love the plaid trend that has been around the last year. I love finding ways to wear it out and to work. Florida winters can be very tricky, especially being a teacher. The mornings can be cold, but the temps could get pretty hot by the afternoon or the AC could be not working in my building. It's also been colder on and off these last few weeks, so I have to find something to wear that covers all those possibilities.

 Button down is from Target (here) sweater found on clearance at Gap, necklace Banana Republic Factory Outlet, blue cords BR Factory Outlet, and boots from Macy's two years ago. 

I love these skinny cords from Banana Republic Factory Outlet! I have them in grey, black, navy blue, and purple. I would get them in every color if I could! They are Ryan Fit and I get a size 4. The size 4 is pretty popular so when I find my size I usually try to scoop it up quickly! I am have searching for several years for the cream pants, but every time they are in stock I can never find my size.
These pants are perfect for fall through spring, you can dress them down or up. Great with boots and flats, sweaters, and graphic tees. 
I was excited to buy the navy blue pair because they look so similar to a skinny jeans. It is perfect for those shirts in your closet that don't look good with dress pants.

My next favorite plaid is the Buffalo Plaid! I looked high and low for this shirt and finally found it at H&M.

I paired it with my most favorite maxi I've ever owned. I purchased it from Target last summer; it is so comfy, flattering, and I can wear it with so much all year round!
Gold engravable necklace from Stella & Dot (here)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Life Lately

I'm already slacking at the blog posts, sorry. It's 2015 and I am looking forward to a fun year ahead! Several wedding planned (including one I am a part of that is taking place IN FLORIDA--score!), a couple babies being born, another year of traveling around our sunny state, many trips to Disney and Universal, and hopefully many more visitors!

The current month is going to turn out to be a crazy one, this pas weekend we had no plans, so we slept in, and FINALLY took down our Christmas decorations. 
Next weekend I will be flying back to KC to do some wedding planning with my bestie, celebrate my BiL's birthday, and visit my friends at my old school. 
With both our parents living in St. Louis there hasn't been many opportunities to visit KC, so we haven't been back since the day we packed our things and headed west. I am SO excited to be "home," but in for a rude weather awakening. Hopefully it's not too rough for me.

The weekend after is my 28th birthday and my husband's sister and her husband are coming for a visit (visitors already!)
And the last weekend we are heading to Tampa to party it up at Gasperilla Pirate festival as my official birthday celebration. We did it last year and it was an absolute blast! I can't wait to go ahead. Plus, my friend is flying in for it (MORE visitors!)

I wanted to share my New Years Eve outfit. 
We didn't have any big plans for the night, just heading to a restaurant in our neighborhood, because we were heading to the Citrus Bowl early on New Years Day, but I still wanted to dress up.
My favorite accessory for NYE is always sequins!
The shirt is from UOIonline and I bought it on impulse. I had been looking for a t-shirt to wear and a friend had shared a giveaway for this online boutique and at a price of $19.99 it seemed perfect. (it appears to be sold out, but everything else is 40%)
I do have to say that it ran small (especially in the arms as you can see in the bottom pictures). I usually wear shirts in a small/medium, but have been preferring them to be a little baggier these days. I ordered the medium and thank goodness I did, but if I knew they were going to run small I would have ordered the large. 
My plan was to wear it loosely over a pink champagne skirt I purchased from The Limited a few years ago. I wanted to tie it in the corner like the model did on the website, but as you can see below, it was not going to happen.
Yep, that is one messy room-HA!
Tried to tuck it in…ya not that either, thank goodness for plan B and my other sequin choices.
I got this jacket from The Limited a few years ago and wore it to my birthday (TL know their sequins apparently)
I paired it with leggings, but that wasn't my first choice…the (now) funny story behind this is I put on my several year old skinny jeans and I was doing the "skinny jean" dance as all women do and I went for a deep squat and RRRRIIIIPPPPP, right from my crack to my butt pocket. So, leggings it was..and I now need a new pair of skinnies. and a trip to the gym. boo.

Speaking of gym, let's make a jump to resolutions.
I always make them, I think they are fun and I love having goals.
My biggest one is to try not to worry about what other people think about me, or in turn, not worry so much about other people. This blog is a great example, I'm always worried about what people think about me having one, if they think it's stupid, wonder why I'm doing it, etc. but….
Stumbling upon this was the real turning point for me to wake up.

Cheers to a new year and another chance to get it right!


Friday, December 26, 2014

14 in 14

Another year is coming to a close and 2014 was exactly what I wanted..low key, calm, and nothing crazy. 
2013 came with graduations, weddings, big moves, surgeries, and new jobs. 2014 was a welcome change.

We celebrated my 27th birthday in Tampa at the Gasperilla Pirate Festival. The whole day was such a blast. Growing up with a winter birthday, I was always jealous of my friends who got to enjoy theirs outside, or have pool parties. 
I just booked the hotel to celebrate my 28th at the end of January!

I was hired by a private school as a kindergarten science teacher over Christmas break to finish out the school year. I had taken an 8 month break from teaching when we moved to Florida and found out that life wasn't so sweet behind a desk. I had never been more happy to be a full time teacher again.

Enjoyed a visit from my bestie when her and her (now) fiancĂ© went on a cruise in the caribbean and their port was out of Fort Lauderdale. I drove down for the day to see them, and enjoy the sun and heat of South Beach.


The next few months consisted of a lot of training and fundraising for my first half marathon in April with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I committed to raising $3,200 for LLS in exchange for running the Nike Women's Half marathon in Washington, D.C. It was a lot of hard work, but it is amazing how you actually see the results of training. The picture on the right is after i finished a 10k and was able to run the entire thing without stopping. At that point, that was the longest I have ever ran in my entire life.

Brandon & I's vacations luckily fell on the same week so we planned a few days trip down to Miami & stayed on the strip in South Beach. On the way home we stopped in Jupiter to catch a Cardinals Spring Training game. It was my Christmas gift to B. I'm not the biggest Cards fan out there, but I do enjoy making him happy & catching a baseball game.

This was at the end of my training, two weeks before the half & I had just finished 10 miles. My shirt has all of the my family & friends who had donated to my race. I couldn't have done it without all of them.
Fundraising was stressful & nerve racking & there were times I didn't think I would make my goal, but once I started my last campaign of 100 donations of $10 in 100 hours & that is what got me to my goal. I was getting donations from every one: best friends, family, strangers, acquaintances, & long lost friends. It was really the most humble I've every felt.

I did it!!! I completed my first half marathon in our nation's capital. The race was perfect! It wasn't easy, but I could not have asked for a better race, event, & campaign to run for.


Residency continues for Dr. Husband. Several things I learned while being on this journey with him through medical school and now the first year of residency: make your own plans, we are a TEAM, & remember in marriage you both have to give 100%.
The days are long, but the years are short.


We continued to enjoy being Disney Annual Passholders. It is our favorite place & the best investment we could have made. 
I also lived out my dream of being at Hollywood Studios during Star Wars weekends. It was seriously like I had become 12 years old again.


 We celebrated our first year of marriage! 
The best is yet to be..


We enjoyed trips to the beach whenever we could.

I scored tickets to see Jimmy Fallon when he was at Universal Studios. It was an awesome show & my friend Meg & I enjoyed the theme park after the taping.

I was hired in June to teach fourth grade at a Title I school in East Orlando. I was very excited for this new adventure & the experiences that have come along with it.

We enjoyed traveling to St. Louis & Dallas for two of our friends weddings. Brandon was in the wedding party for both, & both grooms were in ours. Both such fun weekends, which always made the first day back at work really, really, tough.


 October was a pleasantly exciting & exhausting surprise with the KC Royals making the playoffs & getting to the world series. I had never had a reason so watch baseball in October before (being a Cubs & Royals fan) so this was a great month…exhausting, with many trips to our neighborhood bar to watch the games, but I hope to see my other baseball love in October next year ;-)


One more, just for good measure.
We celebrated Christmas in Florida this year. Dr. Husband had to work, so I had to find ways to make Christmas just as special, just the two of us.
I spent Christmas Eve baking up fabulous meals for dinner, Christmas breakfast, & dinner. 
I even got to cook "with" my mom. LOVE technology!
I finally used recipes from my bridal shower. I made my MIL's Macaroni Mouse, my mom's St. Louis style salad, two of my parent's neighbors & friends French toast casserole & Christmas Day Soup. I also made Surf 'n Turf (this may be an Alexander Christmas Eve tradition). 
I am not the most domesticated gal around, so I was pretty proud of myself for the meal & the fact that I enjoyed cooking all day!
Archer & I enjoyed a day at Fort de Soto dog beach.

Thanks for joining me on my 2014 year in review. This is much better than the Facebook version :-)

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday & have the happiest of New Years!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Five for Friday

Does it count if I started this post when it was technically still Friday {11:59pm et}

I am currently sitting on the couch, much past when I should have gone to bed, watching the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles one; you know, the good one.

It has been a very busy week & that's perfect for a link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching weekly Five for Friday.
I got the whole week off from school, a much needed break, & needed to prepare for my parents coming into town from St. Louis for Thanksgiving. They weren't staying with us, but I wanted to use the weekend & three days to get all my Christmas decorations up.
Holy Christmas decor inventory.
 Plus this FABULOUS find from an antique shop. You know that look/move you do when you find a $1 on the ground…I did that when I spotted the moose mug.
You serious, Clark?
No wall goes untouched in our apartment. The catch 22 about living in Central Florida is that we can't really get out of the state easily, but with the exception of the panhandle, we can get almost anywhere easily IN Florida. Our goal while we live here is to make the most of it & visit as many places as we can.
I purchased this 1920 map of Florida from Etsy shop WorkBox, printed it as an 18x24 & glued it to a canvas. Every where that Brandon & I have visited together gets a little pin in it. Still many places to visit!
I found the painting from Hobby Lobby.

Like I said earlier, my parents weren't staying with us in Orlando. We rented a condo in New Symrna Beach. We had a nice, low key Thanksgiving dinner, hubs was able to be off work for the evening to join, & we enjoyed the sunset & ocean view. B & I made the journey to Wal-Mart {ugh} & snagged a voucher to order the 50" TV. Black Friday just isn't the same anymore. Running through Target at 4am 4 years ago when we literally snagged our current 40" was so much more fun.

The weather has been really chilly the last two weeks, I feel sorry for my parents who were hoping for some hot weather. But anything is better than current Missouri weather.
And I have enjoyed getting to wear my "Wellies" & leggings!

Has anyone else had anxiety to go back to work on Monday? I had a legit anxiety attack this morning just thinking about my email {that I refuse to check till Sunday evening--at the earliest}
I really am not ready yet. But the positive side of it is that Thanksgiving was later this year, which means Christmas will come faster!
Princess Half Marathon is coming up in a very short 3 months & I am no where near ready. So what better way to celebrate the day after stuffing yourself than signing up for a 5k? 
As of my last running attempt I was only able to go a mile before I had to walk. Pretty embarrassing for someone who plans on running a half soon.
Another reason I love living in Florida, perfect running outside weather. Now..where is that motivation?

Hope you all had a wonderful thanksgiving break with your family & friends.